DZG’s forward-thinking keepers are stockpiling leaves so they will last our animals throughout the winter.
ABOVE – Keeper Adam Wrench stashes food for winter
Staff on our ungulates section have been collecting crisp fallen leaves and putting them into large plastic barrels so they can be stored and fed to a selection of our creatures during the winter months.
Ungulates Keeper Adam Wrench said: “We are making the most of the autumnal fall and putting leaves in airtight containers which will be stored behind the Giraffe House.
“We will then have a good supply of fresh browse which can be given to the giraffes, tapirs, reindeer, Barbary sheep and kangaroos throughout the months when all the trees on site will be bare.
“The leaves will mostly be given to our giraffes Kubwa, Mia, Kito and Josie, as a form of enrichment and to help keep them occupied during the winter period.”
Keepers have been collecting the leaves and some small branches on dry, windy days when weather conditions are ideal for storage.
Giraffes are herbivores who exclusively browse for vegetation. They feed on the rough shoots of plants and their diet consists mainly of the thorny leaves of acacia trees. The thorns do not bother the giraffes as they have a very rough tongue and lips.
They spend up to 20 hours a day feeding. The tongue, about 45cm in length, enables them to reach up into trees and pull down leaves.
The front section is darkly coloured to prevent sunburn during frequent exposure when feeding. Males typically feed with the neck and head stretched vertically, while the females feed on lower vegetation with the neck bent and the head held down.
DID YOU KNOW . . .
A giraffe’s neck can grow up to two metres in length and has seven neck bones the same as humans
Giraffes can gallop at up to 56 kilometres per hour to avoid predators